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10 Ways to Better Utilise Your Time After Work

10 Ways to Better Utilise Your Time After Work

During our lives we constantly strive for accomplishments in our career, and we educate ourselves to reach certain goals according to our ambitions. Being successful in the field we love brings us a lot of happiness, as well as a substantial paycheck at the end of the month, which allows us to provide for our family and go on vacations, have a nice life, and buy some unnecessary material things that simply make us happy.

However, in these busy lives we lead, we mustn’t forget that at the end, success will mean nothing if we forget about our loved ones, and let them forget us. You are never too busy to do everything you want after work, but all you need is a little guide to help you better utilize your limited free time.

1. End your working day at fixed time

“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” – John Wooden

Working overtime brings nothing but bad results, and it makes it impossible to have a private life. As you probably have many other things planned out, if you work overtime you won’t be capable of doing much more than falling on your bed and sleeping till the morning.

If you want to have enough energy to have a life separate from your career, then you should definitely end your workday at a fixed time, so that you can organize your schedule better.

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2. Rest for thirty minutes alone

These days, we are all somehow always in a hurry. We don’t know how to rest and relax anymore. Even having coffee with friends seems to have become a quick 30 minute update of what’s happening in their lives. When was the last time you just sat in a quiet environment and let your thoughts fly around the room?

In order to cope with all the stress you are facing every day, you need to learn to evaluate your day and think about everything that happened. If you don’t, you just pile up all the negativity, and start doing something else as soon as you get home, until you forget everything. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother you subconsciously. So, sit down for at least 30 minutes, take a cup of coffee or tea, and turn off everything that can distract you. Don’t let anything disturb you while you enjoy the silence. This way, you will definitely get some rest from the busy day behind you, and solve all the problems in your head.

3. Plan your next week during the weekend

We tend to make a lot of plans for the following week, but often forget about them, even if we have written them down. Because of this, you should take an hour to organize your life during the weekend.

Moreover, when you make a plan to have dinner with family or friends, you usually write it down while you are in a hurry, or just agree, relying on your good memory to keep a schedule. When you sit down on Saturday or Sunday, don’t forget to go through your mail and messages and check if you agreed to something you possibly forgot.

4. Say “no”

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho

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You don’t have much time after work to do everything you want to, so you need to learn to say “no” to people if you want to survive your working week. I’m sure you want to see your friend, parents, fix something around your house, and spend quality time with your family after work; unfortunately, the day is really short, and you cannot make it all happen.

Lucky for you, there are more days in the week, so you will certainly find an hour to see your friends some other day. If you still cannot make it, don’t force your plans, but tell your friends or family that you’ll inform them when you will be available during the weekend and see if that suits them. Now you understand the importance of that one hour of planning, scheduling, and writing everything down.

Also, if your colleagues want you to help them with something that you’ll have to work overtime for, don’t automatically say “yes” but think about it. If you reschedule something at the last minute, it can make a complete chaos in your weekly schedule.

5. Write a blog

“Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.” – Pat Conroy

Nowadays, almost everyone has a blog and writes their opinion on a wide range of topics. If you ever wondered why people do it, maybe you should start your own blog and see for yourself. Writing our thoughts and sharing can help us deal with certain situations and be a reminder of how we felt at a certain point in our life. Basically, it is your journal that helps you avoid making the same mistakes, while at the same time helping other people deal with similar issues.

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Your life is probably chaotic, and planning is getting tougher. When writing, your chaotic blog posts will soon become organized articles, and this will train your brain to start thinking in a more structured and logical manner. Also, both your job and private life will benefit, as you will have a clear picture of how you evolved as a person and the things you have accomplished along the way. Getting started is fairly easy, you just need to think of a good name, register a domain name, look into affordable hosting, and get a nice WordPress theme (a lot of which are free).

You can have a blog up and running within a day, and then you can start expressing your creativity, which will help you deal with your problems and emotions, and help you gain a few online followers. After some time of writing a blog, compare your decisions to the ones you were making before you started writing regularly. Don’t be surprised to find a noticeable improvement.

6. Know your priorities

In order to better utilize your time, you need to know your priorities. Don’t neglect important things in your life, just because something comes up unexpectedly. If you really want something, you’ll make it happen. The best way to make it happen is not to let other things get in the way.

If your child has their first recital, and you have a lot of work left to complete for tomorrow, remember that big moment will stay imprinted in your child’s memory forever. It is very important to be capable of filtering things, so feel free to postpone a few unimportant tasks and write them down on a piece of paper. You’ll find a way to make them happen later.

7. Adapt other plans to your schedule

Having a life outside of work is incredibly important. During your free time, you can recharge your batteries, do your favorite hobby and be with your family. When planning some other events, make sure you don’t adapt your personal schedule to them, but vice versa.

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8. Exercise before work

By exercising before work you will leave more time after work to dedicate to some other responsibilities, and at the same time prepare yourself for the stressful day ahead of you. If you are used to exercising after work, try jogging or working out in the morning instead. You’ll certainly increase your productivity, as those endorphins will help you keep your cool and stay focused. If you haven’t tried doing exercises in the morning, definitely give it a go and see how your body and mind respond.

9. Ignore social media and turn off your laptop

This has certainly happened to you at some point. You start scrolling your News Feed or chatting with your friends, and when you look at the watch you realize you’ve been doing that for an hour or even more. This is a really bad habit, as you waste a lot of time on something pointless. When you come home from work, and you immediately start logging into all of your accounts, you begin to slowly distance yourself from reality and you lose track of time. This way, instead of playing or talking with your partner and children, you end up wasting time on social media.

If you want to be productive, use the time spent on Facebook or Twitter to promote yourself or your company, and keep it short. You can use the hour or two you’ll save to grab a drink with your friends at the closest bar, and get your news and gossip firsthand. You cannot just disconnect, as we are all used to going through our News Feeds, but you can set a reminder and limit your use of social media.

10. Don’t plan too many things

People become chaotic and disorganized when they want to squeeze all of their plans in one evening. Now, you need to face it – it is impossible. It is completely understandable that you want to do all of those interesting things at once, but you cannot clone yourself (at least for now).

Don’t plan too many things. By using your priority formula and the saying “no” strategy, you can easily decide what plans you’ll go through with, and which ones will have to be postponed or even cancelled. Even if you manage to make a tight schedule that will allow you to do it all, you’ll still sacrifice something and only be in a hurry the whole time.

Conclusion

There are a lot of things happening in our lives. It’s really hard to keep track of everything that is happening. However, you need to think about your family, friends, and yourself in order to be able to organize well and utilize your time after work in the best possible manner.

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Ivan Dimitrijevic

Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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